Monday, November 21, 2011

On Running Shoes and Knitting Needles

I started running in 1992 because my brother ran and I wanted to have something in common with him other than, you know, our family tree.

I raced and finished my first 5K in Las Vegas in 1997. Cindy Crawford ran one around the same time and it was heartening that my pace was comparable to hers.

While I concerned myself with marrying and beginning to produce offspring, I only ran intermittently. But in recent years I've picked it up again. I love it because it calms my Irish temper, keeps my heart healthy, and people clap for me when I race.

I started knitting two weeks ago, because I am intrigued with the idea of turning string (well, yarn) into clothing and useful household items, and because I want to challenge myself to persist with things even when they're difficult and even when I can't accomplish them perfectly. For you normal people out there, this is no biggie, but for me, it is a giant undertaking. As my friend, knitting instructor, and fellow recovering perfectionist has challenged me: "Dare to be average!"

In recent days, I find myself comparing these two "hobbies" of mine. Here are the findings of my analysis:

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RUNNING AND KNITTING

Yarn is cheaper than Asics.
Running carries the higher risk of being hit by a truck.
Knitting doesn't require a special bra.
Strangers hand you Gatorade when you run.
I have never once seen my shadow while knitting and thought my butt looked fat.
It is easier to screw up knitting than running.
Someone is teaching me to knit. Running came way more natural.
Knitting can be done in a recliner.


SIMILARITIES BETWEEN RUNNING AND KNITTING

Both make me sweat. One from physical exertion, one from mental and motor skill.
Both distract me from eating large quantities of unnecessary food.
Both indirectly benefit others: knitting produces things like scarves that can be given as gifts; running increases my overall sanity, which helps my children live another day.
I prefer to knit, and to run, in the company of others. But both are also totally acceptable solo activities.
I hope to pass both on to my grandchildren.
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